- Associated Press - Saturday, August 22, 2015

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Wayne Rooney endured more frustration on Saturday as Manchester United was held to a 0-0 draw by Newcastle in the Premier League.

The striker did manage his first shots on target this season and found the net in the first half, but it was ruled out for offside.

Rooney remains without a goal since April for United, which dropped points for the first time in the first month of the season.

In the second half, substitute United striker Javier Hernandez was denied at close range by goalkeeper Tim Krul and defender Chris Smalling’s header hit the post as Newcastle secured its first point on the road since February.

“I think we caused them some problems up front,” Krul said. “But I am more pleased how solid we were at the back.”

Newcastle, though, remains without a win in the first three games under Steve McClaren, a former assistant manager at United.

The stuttering draw for Louis van Gaal’s United highlighted the need for attacking reinforcements before the transfer window closes on Sept. 1. This week United’s pursuit of Barcelona forward Pedro Rodriguez ended with him joining Chelsea instead.

Rooney, who had scored 11 in 17 previous starts for United against Newcastle, looked to have ended his wait for a goal in the fourth minute when he latched on to Mata’s throughball and lifted the ball over Krul, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

While United dominated possession, t was not just Rooney who struggled in front of goal as the captain’s goal drought reached 10 games. Juan Mata and Memphis Depay also missed chances.

“We have played one of our best performances under me,” Van Gaal said. “But we have lost two points and I am not satisfied about the result. … We were very unlucky today I think.”

Van Gaal brought Michael Carrick and Hernandez on for Bastian Schweinsteiger and Januzaj in the second half. Rooney dropped into the No. 10 position, leaving Hernandez up front.

Fans in the Stretford End yelled “Attack! Attack! Attack!”

But there was no breakthrough.

Steven Taylor blocked Rooney’s volley in the box and Mata blazed way over the bar after being found by his captain with a deep cross. Luke Shaw played a neat one-two with Morgan Schneiderlin before driving a low shot at Krul.

United’s focus now returns to the Champions League and protecting a 3-1 lead over Brugge on Wednesday to reach the group stage.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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